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Whales in the North Atlantic are on the verge of extinction: how robots help them

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The whales of the North Atlantic – all three hundred, or so, surviving – have a new weapon on their side.

For years, marine ecologist Mark Baumgartner has been implementing real-time listening devices that record whale song. Now, the lab he works for is partnering with a shipping company to implement two robotic buoys that will transmit information about the location of whales back to shore.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has developed the technology so that sailors and the public have an idea of ​​where endangered mammals swim and can therefore prevent fatal ship collisions, according to the Associated Press.

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Endangered whales have another chance thanks to technology

“We need to change our industrial practices when whales are around,” Baumgartner said in a statement. “It simply came to our notice then. To tell the industry what works and what doesn’t, what is the best way to have solutions that will be effectively implemented ”.

In 2021, the AP reported that whale populations had reached a minimum of 20 years, with only about 300 individuals surviving in the wild, a significant drop from 480 in 2011.

Although there were more whales, climate change is forcing them to enter warmer, more crowded waters as they search for food. Their breeding and mortality rates have also been quite bleak and they are always vulnerable to entanglement and collision with fishing nets.

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So, in this sense, the new Baumgartner devices protect animals in ways that regulations and rules never could. As humans create mass extinction events in the ocean that have not been seen since the time of the dinosaurs, this technology could only be the last hope of endangered whales.

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